By Douglas Williams
I find lately that there comes a point when meeting new people, especially non-Brits – I’m a Brit, when the conversation inexorably turns to Brexit. At this point I generally feel a bit like the family’s lovely old labrador, left too long in the house on his own, who has had a malodorous “accident” on the living room rug. Not my fault. And I sort of get now how it must have felt all these years to be an American abroad. Wearisome at times.
I apologise in advance for writing about this here and now but it’s a big deal to me and to my fellow Brits, both there and here, and for all of Europe, a project that I fully confess to liking a lot.
We’re getting down to the wire now. Not wishing to state the bleeding obvious but the clock is ticking and the UK Prime Minister, who has no real mandate and was herself a vocal supporter of “remain”, is making heavy weather of negotiations with the EU and even more so with members of her own party. It’s probably worth pointing out here that almost three quarters of members of the UK parliament voted to remain in the EU in the June ‘16 referendum. And, just as an side, this is the party that the current PM herself described as the “nasty party” not so long ago, just saying.
Rumours of a leadership bid have been rife for months now. There are also rumours that there will be a snap election and amidst the DUP (the regressive Northern Ireland party which props up the Tory government even though Northern Ireland was resolutely remain) there are mutterings of descent, their support may well be withdrawn. Hovering just over the horizon is the very real prospect of a post Brexit non-United Kingdom with a united Ireland and an independent Scotland – factors that tellingly leave arch-Brexiters unperturbed. On top of all that there is a growing clamour for a “People’s Vote” with more than a million expected to march demanding as much in London tomorrow, 20th October. So all of this creates a climate where the EU isn’t sure who they will be dealing with come Christmas, it could very well be all change so what’s the point… It could well be all change by the time you, dear reader, read this.
I for one very much hope that it does all change.
I posit that the whole thing was prosecuted by a bunch of rogues without a shred of credibility between them, it was illegally funded, the leave campaign made preposterous lies, based its campaign on ugly, racism stoked fears and Brexit wasn’t even remotely thought through in terms of what it would actually be anyway. And it has since transpired that is basically not possible – Northern Ireland being one intransigent factor among many. In the two years a tranche of the leave voters significant enough have passed away to be replaced by 18-20 year old new voters who would undoubtedly vote remain. Key EU laws relating to tax avoidance come into effect in January and these directly and personally affect many Brexiteers and Tory party donors – a factor perchance in their haste for deal or no deal.
Meantime, and partly as a consequence, Europe appears increasingly frayed and her enemies – the US, Russia and China – laugh into their sleeves, licking their chops. The EU trading block, 7% of the world population yet accounting for 25% of the Global economy, offers the kind of protections to the worker, to the consumer and to the environment that get in the way of big business, an anathema to the big three. Europe is a beacon of civility and progressive, civic and green thinking. Elements within the US are increasingly recognising European values which terrifies the republican side as does the idea of an alternative global currency to their green back – the euro.
Dark forces have been at work with Brexit, they still are. They must be resisted in order that our children can live in a fairer, cleaner, more decent world.